Steamed Pompano

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Whoops, I started eating before I took a picture . . .

2 pompano fillets (I got mine from a fish that weighed 1.5 lbs. If you can’t find pompano, any fish with fairly uniform, thin fillets will work.)
seasoned salt
Cayenne pepper

Bring an inch or two of water or broth to a lively boil in a large skillet or wok. Place a steaming tray over the liquid, and spray it with oil to prevent sticking. Season the fillets with seasoned salt and Cayenne, or whatever spices you like. I’m not normally into black pepper, but I think a healthy sprinkling of it might be good to cut the fattiness of the fish. Place the fish on the steaming tray, cover, and steam for 12-15 minutes. For reference, my fillets were around 3/4 inch thick, and they were perfect after 12 minutes, so something thicker will need longer. Check for easy flaking with a fork. Serve immediately with veggies, brown rice, something light and fresh, since the fish flesh is like freaking butter. Watch out for tiny bones, too.

Pompano always reminds me of going to the beach on the Florida panhandle with my family. We would dig up sand fleas (AKA mole crabs), as that’s what pompano are totally into, we’d surf-fish and catch a couple if we were lucky, and my dad would pan-fry them covered in Jane’s Krazy Mixed-Up Salt. I don’t get to Florida much these days, but I was delighted to find fresh pompano in Chinatown this weekend. They only sold it whole, so I had to fillet the darn thing myself (not easy on such a skinny fish with such tough skin), but I did alright. I’ll definitely try some more pompano recipes if the market keeps them in stock; maybe I’ll see what I can do with pompano en papillote. Stay tuned!

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